Environment and Sustainable Development

Research Paper 183, 15 September 2023

Least Developed Countries and Their Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals

By Peter Lunenborg

This Research Paper reviews Least Developed Countries’ (LDCs) collective progress on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), based on the available data on the indicators for the 169 SDG targets. It makes recommendations for LDCs and other States to consider advancing in relevant UN processes as well as the WTO’s.

LDCs made progress on 28% of the SDGs. This collective progress shows that these countries are far from achieving what were deemed achievable goals in 2015. With respect to trade-related SDGs, LDCs have not made progress on any of the five trade-related SDGs that mention LDCs specifically.

This paper does not delve into the causes of this gap, but it suggests that international cooperation and, particularly, the developed countries’ assistance, has been insufficient to address the needs of a large part of the world population that still lives in poverty and without hope of a better future. However, the Doha Programme of Action (DPoA), a development framework with targets specifically for LDCs -which overlap with SDG targets- appears to dilute several original SDG targets, in particular those in SDG 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).

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Call for papers on Operationalization of the Loss & Damage Fund for Climate Change

Call for papers on Operationalization of the Loss & Damage Fund for Climate Change

Deadline: 15th October 2023

Deadline for abstract proposal: 1st September 2023

This call invites established scholars, early career academics, PhD students and practitioners (policy makers, lawyers) to submit papers. An abstract should be submitted, with a CV of the author/s before September 1st.  The final paper should be submitted by October 15 following the format of a South Centre Research Paper. An honorarium of USD 1.000 will be offered for the best completed full paper that meet the standards of publication. Other accepted papers may also be published by the South Centre.

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Climate Finance Readiness E-book, July 2023

Climate Finance Readiness E-book

July 2023

The global landscape of climate finance is highly fragmented and complex, involving multiple pathways, actors, institutions, and instruments. Funds provided by developed countries to developing countries for climate adaptation and mitigation actions are channelled through various multilateral funds – both within and outside the scope of the operating entities of the UNFCCC’s financial mechanism.

Developing countries indisputably need climate finance to flow at a sufficient scale and in a timely manner. While the options and possibilities for countries to access climate finance are expected to increase, with a multitude of funding channels, this can also make the process even more complicated and confusing. Which funds to turn to? For which activities? At what costs? These are a few of the many questions that climate change decision-makers must contend with. Each fund is administered with complicated rules and procedures, which makes it very challenging for developing countries to navigate when seeking to fund their domestic climate actions. There is currently no ‘one-stop-shop’ to provide useful and quick answers.

The Climate Finance Readiness E-book is a series of short briefs prepared by the South Centre to provide developing countries with a «help desk» to access and more effectively and efficiently utilise the complex web of climate finance information available to them. This brief will be updated periodically and will shine a spotlight on different geographical areas. The South Centre welcomes questions, comments, and suggestions for this series of briefs to continuously improve its help desk function on Climate finance.

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SC Contribution – Call for Inputs by UN SR on HRs & Environment, 14 June 2023

Response to the Call for Inputs by the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment

Should the interests of foreign investors trump the human right to a clean,
healthy and sustainable environment
?”

South Centre

14 June 2023

To realize the right to clean, healthy & sustainable environment and reduce ISDS risks, States need to align their FDI policies with human rights, climate action and SDGs, including via reform of the international investment regime.

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SC Submission to the Global Digital Compact, April 2023

Submission to the Global Digital Compact

Apply Human Rights Online

 South Centre

 Geneva, April 2023

The South Centre’s Board approved in September 2022 its Programme of Work 2023-2025 where the policy dimensions of digital transformation are highlighted as one of the priority areas for developing countries, including the need to harness digital technologies in education, health and the production of goods and services, support the development of a domestic digital industry, improve their digital infrastructure, advance digital equity and inclusion, effectively tax the digital companies and contribute to shaping the digital governance architecture to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Following the call made in the Declaration on the Commemoration of the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of the United Nations (A/RES/75/1) for improved digital cooperation, the United Nations (UN) Secretary General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation and his report ‘Our Common Future’, the South Centre submits the following written contribution to the UN Secretary General ahead to the Summit of the Future with the objective of providing support to developing countries in the intergovernmental process concerning the digital transformation.

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SouthViews No. 246, 5 April 2023

Preserving Regulatory Space for Sustainable Development in Africa

By Roslyn Ng’eno

Investment has an important role for achieving sustainable development in developing countries. Although international investment agreements (IIAs) can serve as instruments to promote such objective, protection oriented IIAs have undermined the ability of States to regulate in the benefit of the community. Likewise large financial reparations imposed by arbitral tribunals have increased the threat of regulatory chill in the face of major global challenges. Strengthening the right to regulate of States and addressing regulatory chill are key matters to consider in the reform of IIAs and the international investment regime. 

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Documento de Investigación 167, 27 de octubre de 2022

Análisis de las intersecciones entre cambio climático y derechos humanos

Por Daniel Uribe Terán y Luis Fernando Rosales

Los efectos del cambio climático en la vida diaria de las personas amenazan el pleno disfrute de los derechos humanos. El Consejo de Derechos Humanos ha adoptado dos resoluciones históricas en las que se reconoce por un lado el derecho humano a un medio ambiente limpio, saludable y sostenible (Resolución 48/13), y se establece por otro el mandato de un Relator Especial sobre la promoción y la protección de los derechos humanos en el contexto del cambio climático (Resolución 48/14). Aun así, parece existir la necesidad de que la CMNUCC y la estructura de derechos humanos de las Naciones Unidas mantengan un diálogo más amplio a fin de dar con una respuesta coordinada y coherente al cambio climático y sus efectos sobre los derechos humanos.

En este documento de investigación se analizan las intersecciones de estos dos sistemas jurídicos. Para ello, se identifica el modo en que las negociaciones relativas al cambio climático y la estructura de derechos humanos pueden contribuir a fortalecer la cooperación internacional. También se reconoce la necesidad de un debate internacional de mayor calado acerca de las relaciones entre los derechos humanos y el cambio climático, coherente con los principios de equidad y las responsabilidades comunes pero diferenciadas del CMNUCC.

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Document de Recherche 167, 27 octobre 2022

Analyse des Intersections entre le Changement Climatique et les Droits de l’Homme

Par Daniel Uribe Teran et Luis Fernando Rosales

Les effets du réchauffement climatique sur la vie quotidienne des êtres humains menacent la pleine jouissance de leurs droits. Le Conseil des droits de l’homme a adopté deux résolutions d’une portée historique, qui reconnaissent le droit de l’homme à un environnement propre, sain et durable (résolution 48/13), et nomment un rapporteur spécial chargé de la promotion et de la protection des droits de l’homme dans le contexte du changement climatique (résolution 48/14). Toutefois, un dialogue plus large entre la Convention-cadre des Nations unies sur les changements climatiques (CCNUCC) et l’architecture de protection des droits de l’homme de l’ONU semble nécessaire en vue de parvenir à une réponse coordonnée et cohérente au réchauffement climatique et à ses effets sur les droits de l’homme.

Le présent document de recherche analyse les points de convergence entre ces deux mécanismes en mettant en avant de quelle manière les négociations sur le réchauffement climatique et l’architecture de protection des droits de l’homme peuvent contribuer à renforcer la coopération internationale. Il reconnaît également la nécessité de discussions plus approfondies au niveau international sur les liens entre droits de l’homme et réchauffement climatique, conformément aux principes d’équité et de responsabilités communes mais différenciées inclus dans la CCNUCC.

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Policy Brief 117, 14 March 2023

The Midterm Comprehensive Review of the International Decade for Action on Water for Sustainable Development amid growing tension between a human rights perspective and the commodification and privatization of water

By Luis Fernando Rosales Lozada

Climate change is affecting the availability of water resources in different regions around the world. In addition, some growing trends towards water commodification and privatization could exacerbate the problem since they are guided by profit maximization strategies. The United Nations (UN) will hold the Midterm Comprehensive Review (MCR) of the Implementation of the Objectives of the International Decade for Action, “Water for Sustainable Development”, 2018–2028, from 22 to 24 March 2023. This is an important opportunity for the international community to assess the challenges on access to clean drinking water and sanitation. The MCR debates and outcomes should be guided by a human rights approach towards promoting access to water for all in 2030 in alignment with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6.

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SouthViews No. 244, 31 January 2023

Graduating from the LDC Group: Challenges Facing Bangladesh

by Mustafizur Rahman

A significant number of LDCs will be graduating in the near term future. On graduation these countries will face formidable challenges as they will lose the benefits accruing from LDC-specific international support measures. Bangladesh is the first major LDC which is slated for graduation, to take place in November 2026. This article examines the various graduation challenges facing Bangladesh, and articulates some of the strategies that the country needs to pursue in order to graduate with momentum and make graduation sustainable.

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